Bird Drawings

One of the challenges teaching art in middle school is the wide variety of experience levels. For this reason, I decided to spend some time on teaching the basics of observational drawing. This project is based on a lesson found in the book, Drawing With Children, by Mona Brookes. After some practice, students had to determine for themselves if they were beginners, intermediate, or advanced in their drawing skills. Beginners had a step by step guide to work with, intermediate students had line drawings of birds to work from, and advanced students were free to source their own images. In all cases, students were encouraged to change the images to fit their own ideas and tastes.

Here are some of the results of my students’ hard work. Click on any thumbnail to enlarge it.




Line Designs

Our first week was devoted to the element of Art, Line. We discussed line quality, line direction, and how artists and designers use line to communicate emotions and moods. The students then created a line drawing that communicated a mood or feeling. This project was loosely inspired by a project found on the blog, A Faithful Attempt. We started off with some basic guidelines, then the kids were free to make their own design choices. Here are a few examples:

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Art Club Begins

Art Club Windows

In our  first Art Club meetings we painted an undersea window mural. The students were given very little direction and they were able to accomplish the task. We used dry erase markers and tempera paints mixed with a little dish soap.

Art Club Doors


The students had fun working on it and it added a bit more color to the room.

Paper Molas

My Art 2 students explored collage and drawing after learning about Molas created by the Kuna women of the San Blas islands.

Two resources I used were Dynamic Art Projects by Denise M. Logan and Art From Many Hands by Jo Miles Schuman. In the future I would like  to try the reverse applique process. Have any of you art teachers out there used exacto knives with 35+ students?


Please visit our Artsonia gallery to see our Paper Molas.

The Artsonia galleries get updated as I grade, so they keep changing.

Contour Line Compositions

Contour line drawing is an important skill for artists to learn and practice. It helps us to develop our observational skills and hand-eye coordination. Several students were surprised at what they could accomplish by practicing this technique. This lesson was adapted from Shalanah Dawson’s blog. Rather than focus on Peter Max (I have future plans with him), we focused on developing our contour drawing skills while exploring pattern and color.